Cole Miller died in January 2016, when a punch he probably never saw coming knocked him to the ground.
Cole Miller died in January 2016, when a punch he probably never saw coming knocked him to the ground. FACEBOOK

Coward punches in spotlight after Cole Miller tragedy

WHILE Cole Miller's killer will serve seven years behind bars, the beloved 18-year-old's family faces a "life sentence".

That is something Justice Helen Bowskill and One Punch Campaign Australia founder Kerry McIntyre agree on.

But no matter the sentence in tragic cases like this, nothing will bring Cole or other one-punch victims back, Ms McIntyre says.

"If we did give Armstrong 25 years ... it's not going to make any difference to the fact that Cole's gone," she said.

"I'm not somebody who focuses and spends my energy on law reforms and things like that."

Armstrong Renata's sentencing on Friday

Ms McIntyre said Australia had "laws in place already" for crimes such as that which Renata committed.

She said education and awareness - at pubs, hotels and homes - was what would prevent heartbreak for more families.

She began the one punch can kill campaign after her son's best friend Cameron Lowe died in Victoria in 2010.

Like Cole Miller, he was a teenager who fell and hit his head after an unprovoked attack.

Like Cole Miller, Cameron died in hospital after his life support was turned off.

"His mother was standing there," Ms McIntyre said.

"I'll never forget her words: 'Such an absolutely stupid thing to do. Now it's ruined both their lives'."

 

Cole Miller
Cole Miller

Outside Brisbane Supreme Court following the sentencing on Friday, Cole's father Steven said "our society was just full of violence".

"Losing your youngest child, losing any child, losing a loved one is something that's very hard to deal with and live with," he said.

"And I don't wish it upon anyone."

He voiced neither disappointment nor happiness at 23-year-old Renata's sentence.

But he said Australia must address pervasive violence.

"I still believe there should be more deterrence for this type of senseless violence, cowardly acts, alcohol-fuelled violence, all sorts of violence - our society is just full of violence every day."

"Until there is a bigger deterrent, we're not going to solve this problem. We have a social problem with violence," Mr Miller added.

"My heart goes out to everyone who's been affected by violence, especially death."

Ms McIntyre said people should not only think about how throwing a punch might impact their target. They should consider the impact to their own life, and that of their loved ones.

Changing attitudes to violence, and recognising the role alcohol played in so many assaults, was needed more than any debate about sentencing, Ms McIntyre said.

"People have got to get out there and spend their time and energy on education and awareness."

Cole's mother Mary-Leigh also spoke about the impact her son's death had in a statement Mr Miller read in court earlier.

"My life as I knew it came to an end" when Cole died, she said.

Her "heart shattered into a million pieces" and she had "continual and desperate yearning" to return to the way life was before.

"I endure constant pressure form the world around me to move on," she added.

 

Cole Miller
Cole Miller

Renata pleaded guilty earlier this year to unlawful striking causing death.

Courts have already dealt with his friend Daniel Maxwell who started the fight on a booze-fuelled summer night in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley.

"We had no right to do what we did and I'm sorry," Renata told the court on Friday.

"I can't imagine the pain and trauma I've caused this family."

"One moment has stolen the life of a young man and destroyed the life of his family and close friends," Justice Bowskill told Renata.

He blindsided the Sunshine Coast 18-year-old in January last year.

"Your conduct on that night was cowardly, gratuitous and unprovoked," Justice Bowskill added. -NewsRegional

News Corp Australia


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